——When I think about what it is I am referring to, when I say “the past”, I realize that I assume this past to be a stable entity, shot through with one essence, like a heaven established, whether or not I or anyone else has gained access to any part of it. It already is a totality. Even though it is open to more being added to it, that doesn’t change the nature of this past, as being a totality. It is not here, and it exists on its own. I realize I just accept that what is added will be absorbed into it, without changing the size or essential substance of this past. I realize that I assume the past to be stamped, like from the same post office, that all of its content shares a similar nature. And I realize that I simply presuppose that this one substance is not like anything in life. When I refer to “the past” it is as a thing accomplished in a transcendent realm. Far from mundane, is this past of mine.
——The content in this past is recognized as from life, from the world, and yet it is already no longer of the world, it has survived the world. Yet it is not because it has survived that it has been carried into the past. It has been claimed, or pushed, by this other element, the one by which I, who already have a hankering for this region where the past is located, recognize it. It is this qualifying, stable element that is holding all the content of the past together; not because it was ever in the world. Everything that happens in the world does not qualify. In fact, percentage wise, we are poor players. I say that there is only one past, but it didn’t get there simply by having been real, in the present.
——Or to be put it bluntly: There is only one past, and it isn’t there because it actually happened. The past is not established by virtue of worldly appearance, and it does not last because it survived the cauldron of life. There could very well be things in the past, as I so embrace it in thought, that never happened–though this really stretches the imagination  . . .
——When I bother to shift into thinking about this lodestone of the past (when I refer to this powerful, invisible magnet), I don’t question where it is, for it is a comfortable reference, located as if quite near at hand. Thought alone has the challenge, and the ability to grasp various elements in this past. But the actual content of the past is not even related, not even of the same species, as the thought that refers to it. You think is must be, but it isn’t. It is of a different nature, another material, as I said. And that other nature is, as I said, radically sufficient to itself, and established by virtue of a process totally defying time, which only chugs along, and space, which indifferently balloons. Just as there is no route by land or sea to the past, there is no way to get there in time either.
——And if the past was simply a matter of a previous present, if that were all it took to get a previous time, that it was once a present time, I swear by now science would be able to get there. We’d have more than droning computers. But the substance that holds the past together is as mysterious as the secret of creation, and, I find myself tempted to think, it is also a different secret, making twicefold the narrative I am going to have to work my way back through before these thoughts and words are hinged.
——Each of us holds not only this already labored over and ladled general past, which we intellectually ascribe to the world, but we also have a personal memory of life, and can emotionally rally that, and always refer to that like some ship in the harbor.  Even as you keep considering it, this too remains a kind of total entity, always the same size, your life, one thing being added to and deepening but not destroying your ability to grasp it as your own. Amazingly, it is still being achieved, as it is remembered, the past feeding the ideal future, which quickly drowns in it, and sets sail again.
——And this past too, I am saying, this life we already have, is in the mind when you go there–but not simply because it is what actually happened. Once something has happened, it vanishes, it does not just automatically survive in some smoky chamber, or beehive brain, some memory bank. You are destroyed as you walk. There is a gap that is every future moment, and if anything you had a grasp on is to reappear, as now fitting in the past–this past I keep promoting–it is another propelling miracle that makes it so. On that bed of coals the reality of the past burns.  What mystery generates that miracle that is this held substance of the past, both yours and the world’s?
——And now I say, your memories are no longer an idle reference to what seemingly happened; for it did happen. I am front and center now, thoughts are judgments, they determine what exists. Every one of them, decisions are made as to what you can say happened. And it did happen; only it is maybe more powerful now than what is going on in the present. I say, draw upon the past. You cannot live there, it’s just a reservoir . . .  You are armed pretty much only with your opinions. Running deep, pervasive, even into the scenery. Certainly into expectation, and planning. And when I make some plans, I want to discuss them . . .
——This is all so obvious, who needs to mention it? We simply don’t live in a mere extension of what has actually happened to us, or the world around us. We are obscurely invested in our own lives, which are singular, and we use what we think is the history of the world to our own advantage, precisely for our own lives. The evidence for this is embarrassingly clear. It is in the constant harping and inclusion in all science and debate on the incredible notion of a past that “actually happened.”  It is the hypocritical promotion, as if it didn’t matter to a person, of the blatantly  false assumption that time is a continuum, instead of a paradox. And the blurring of the radical mystery, that past and present are made of different substances–which makes you a hybrid, I said to my friends, of body and spirit, no two ways about it.

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